Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Sid Meier's Civilization V

I love turn based strategy, whether it’s Heroes of Might Magic, Risk or of course Sid Meier’s Civilization. The endless hours I’ve spent on the different games in the franchise are some I’ll never regret, so naturally I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the fifth installment. Now it’s finally here, so how does it hold up to the classics? Has the “Father of PC Gaming” done it again? Read on to find out!

Developed by Firaxis
Published by 2K
Platform: PC
Reviewed on: PC (Tobbii)

Let’s start off easily, the visuals in this game is stunning. Among the best I’ve ever seen in any strategy game. Unfortunately I haven’t played much of the game on the good looking settings due to my PC being out of date. It’s a shame, but I’m glad that I at least got to try it on full settings in order to be able to give a proper review on the visuals. Textures are highly detailed and models are smooth and well made. The music in the game is also worth noting. Every nation has a different background theme and plays while moving around the map. Short cues of music come here and there when you enter a city, meet another nation leader or manage to finish a work in progress. The variations are nice and fit the game very well.

While the soundtrack as a whole is not as good as some of the previous titles, it still holds it own ground. Now obviously there isn't any real story to the game as you create your own history as you see fit. So the scoring will solely go on atmosphere. The feeling you get from playing Civilization V is the feeling of ruling the world, which is exactly what you want to feel. There are a few things that could make the atmosphere better, such as more interesting advisers as well as more dialogue with the other leaders.
The gameplay is mostly the same as previous instalments, with a few changes. You control your own nation, trying to expand and win the game using various ways. You can go a war-path and conquer every nation on the map, you can win by excelling in culture or you can win by being the first player building and completing a spaceship. There are other ways as well, and their fully customizable in the setting prior to playing the game. You research technologies and build buildings and wonder to help you reach your goal and communicate with the other players to decide whether or not you should have peace with them.

The big changes however are the removal of religion and politics. Instead they’ve merged them into something called Social Policies, these work in a similar fashion in the sense that they effect your people and the way the will behave. However, it also feels a little bit handicapped in comparison to the very free system used in earlier games. You get the option of combining different policies to customize further, but it doesn’t help much. Another change is how the map works. Previous Civilization games has used a square tile system for movement and building maps, Civilization 5 changes this by using octagons similar to Heroes of Might and Magic, a change that even though it feels almost the same, certainly is for the better.
The controls are as simple as ever and thanks to the new spectacular HUD you always have perfect control over everything without putting to much time in to reading text and scrolling through menus.Something that was never a burden in the previous games, but still slightly tedious. The replay value is almost endless with the ability to import maps from Civilization IV, building new maps and playing as a ton of different nations. Not to mention the upcoming DLC. Civilization V will have the classic pay-to-use DLC as well as free for those not wanting to spend all their money on it, these packages will include new leaders and nations and such things to further increase the grate value of the game.

To put it short. Civilization V is a great addition to the series, be it not for the new social policies system I probably would even consider it the best. Even though they did remove my favourite leader Julius Caesar, let's hope he comes in DLC.

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